The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Archive for the tag “wales”

St Asaph In North Wales. A curious little City with a Cathedral

Anyone with a spare few hours in North Wales, somewhere near Denbigh or Rhyl, might do worse than visit St Asaph. A city that has an impressive cathedral (with a cafe), a small high street ( with a couple more cafes) and some nice park walks. This makes it sound larger than it really is.

St Asaph

St Asaph

St Asaph is a city and community situated on the River Elwy in Denbighshire, Wales. In the 2011 Census it had a population of 3,355 making it the second-smallest city in Britain in terms of population and urban area. Along with Chelmsford and Perth it is also one of the youngest cities having been granted that status as recently as 2012.  It is in the historic county of Flintshire. It is also home to the smallest cathedral in Britain. Trip Advisor lists the top eight attractions in St Asaph, but clearly they were feeling generous that day. It used to have a hospital but that closed in 2012. 00004643000046420000464000004641

My recommendations? Park in the small car park next to the cathedral. Spend maybe 30 minutes in the cathedral and another hour or so walking around before finding a cafe for some lunch or coffee.

A few photos to show what I found in my hour in this curious little city.


Cardiff Street Art. The Dragon Roars

One of the best aspects of street art is the surprise to find it where least expected. A quick nighttime walk around Cardiff was enlightened by finding some dragon street art next to the Millenium Stadium. Sadly only I phone photos in the dark but quite amazing still the same.

Worst England Performance Ever – England 1 Iceland 2

There can be little doubt that those that witnessed the 90 minutes of misery versus Iceland saw the worst performance ever by an  England football side. These are players paid around 100,000£ a week and Roy hodgson earns 3.5million £. To give some perspective. IMG_0088

There was a lack of passion, organisation and frankly skill, but what really beat us was the delusional belief held both by the team and the pundits (before the game) that we would/should/will the game. These are players also who invest huge amounts of time in furthering their income from advertising and other money-making ventures, and it seems maybe more attention to football related matters and less to advertising might be a way forward. Put simply they are overrated.

The pundits also bottled it saving their scathing comments for after the game when it fact it would be good punditry to state their negative thoughts beforehand. IMG_0095

The England coaching staff ooze mediocrity being full of failed coaches and managers elsewhere. There is something of a history here and the worrying tones of mention of Southgate, Nevill and other equally bland characters is frightening.

Most football fans know that the passion needed starts with the managment and coaching staff, who also have to be ruthless. Why was Joe Hart even playing after his abysmal game versus Wales? Why was Marcus Rashford not playing? He did more in 5 minutes than most did in 90 minutes.

We need a manager who can motivate his team to at least get out of them their best. Countries like Wales and Iceland have this. IMG_0094

The nonsense that gets trotted out by the FA (including that Hodgson wrote his resignation speech in the dressing room) is facile. That Hodgson was not prepared to answer questions is simply rude. Some fans would have spent their life savings to follow England to a tournament and to have answered honestly questions would have cost him nothing other than 10 minutes of his time. It shows a complete lack of respect to the fans.

These players were not ” hungry”, “young” or anything like that, they were clearly a poor group of players unable to step up to the level of a major tournament, through either lack of effort, training,preparation or stage fright. some should never pull on an England shirt again, others need more motivation.

Who next? Most agree that an English manager is essential. The only names that make any sense to me are Sam Allarrdyce and Mark Warburton. Perennial failures need not apply. IMG_4390


What do we know after 2 days of EURO 2016? There are some bad barbers, bad referees and superb goals.

  1. We have not seen the winner of EURO 2016. Opening games can be notoriously unpredictable but none of the teams so far seem to have the ability to go and win. A few decent goals, Bale and Payet as examples, but the overall play has in many games been a little scrappy.
  2. The refereeing is poor. Any number of poor decisions have been made, mostly failure to give penalties or free kicks. The value of the official behind the goal is zero. In the Wales V Slovakia game the official was 2 yards away and missed an elbow to the upper shoulder from Skrtel. Albania can feel aggrieved not to have had at least one penalty in their game. IMG_4379
  3. The riots/disturbances seem to be initiated by Russian and French “ultras” ( whatever they are, I prefer the term psychopath). There are clear unbiased reports of fans sitting drinking peacefully and being attacked by groups of men in balaclavas, clearly premeditated. The reports are that the French police seem not to  be effective and are ignoring a lot of violence.IMG_4384IMG_4383
  4. There are some truly ridiculous hairstyles, and in the main the perpetrators of bad hair should be spending more time on football practice and less time in the barbers chair. Slovakia are the winners of the bad hairstyle Euro 2016 currently. The worst one? Easy. Kuco from Slovakia.
  5. There have been a fair amount of hard/dangerous tackles. Many of these in the Albania v Switzerland game.  The first serious injury awaits, and referees have been poor in recognising the dangerous from the simply bad tackles. A  number of two footed tackles have gone seemingly unseen and certainly unpunished.
  6. The best team performance? Another easy one. Wales. A real team reminding me of Leicester City. The sum of the parts are greater than the individual components. IMG_4381
  7. Fans are determined to enjoy themselves whatever. IMG_4382
  8. Street Art now recognises football. Thierry Henry. Just superb.IMG_4380
  9. England are going to give their fans a rollercoaster ride. They played well but did they really look like a great side? Not really. Maybe quarter-final material, and maybe not.

Flooding in Wales, Ross on Wye and Chepstow

Recently I was in Chepstow for a few days and got the opportunity to briefly see some of the ravages that the weather had brought to the area. It was raining needless to say. Rivers were high and fast, it was not clear where exactly the boundary of the river had originally been and in some cases new ” rivers” had arrived. In short it was wet. These few photos attempt to capture the wetness. The area itself is rural beauty and no doubt in summer provides beautiful walks. Tintern Abbey sits grey and mysterious. The disused Tintern railway station has been put to good use by turning it into a small kind of feature park for children with trains and an old signal box. Some of the scenes could have come right out of Tom’s Midnight Garden.

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Paintings of Chepstow in Wales by Vincent Van B

Chepstow is a rural area on the edge really of Wales. The signs say Ross on Wye 27 miles. A small town with a large racecourse. As we are all aware recent weather has been wet. Here are a few visions of Chepstow and the surrounding areas in paint style.

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A quick walk through the Graveyard to the Bar sir? Wales is a most curious place.

Reflections on my first 24 hours in Wales are what a curious place this is. It rains all the time, the signs on the roads seem to deflect you to the wrong place, and generally things are not quite what they seem. My hotel for example. To get to the hotel reception and bar/restaurant there is no option other than walk through a graveyard. A fully functioning graveyard. I can only think that when God designed Wales he had Alice in Wonderland as his template. Bit of an overdose of mad hatters though for sure. A small electric car was parked at The Angel Hotel in Abergavenny. Raining. Windows down. In fact are there any windows? The car was charging in fact. The hotel as well was curious in that each room I attempted to go into to find my meeting was being knocked down or redecorated. My Graveyard hotel, might as well be named, St Pierre at Chepstow, is full also of curious folks. Couple of business types talking in that business way in the corner, loudly, muttering words like  ” cash” and ” business forecasts”. In fact they are having a few pints of something nice. A daughter maybe calls one of them to be told ” I am in a meeting”, with the word ” meeting” embolden as though it were a place next to heaven.

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Woking 2 Wrexham 0

The nearer one gets to the end of the season the more certain matches matter. Woking are safe in the conference and in fact are the most successful part-time club in the UK. Wrexham are a full-time club striving to be back in the football league where they belong. The reality before this game was that their most likely channel would be the playoffs and after this game this is now a certainty. However it is worth just thinking how much football needs to be played by the better sides that are successful in the cup competitions and in fact Wrexham won at Wembley the FA  Trohpy a few weeks ago. They looked tired and most likely were tired having played 48 hours before. Woking were on top for most of the game and always looked the likelier team to score and they duly did twice in the second half in front of 1500 supporters. Jayden Stockley scored both goals and missed a simple chance for his hat-trick. He was the best player on the pitch. The other player to impress, mostly in the first-half was Dele Adebola, who is still a physical handful at this level.


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chris Maxwell

chris Maxwell

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Dele Adebola

Dele Adebola



Jayden Stockley scores his second goal versus Wrexham

Jayden Stockley scores his second goal versus Wrexham

North Wales

Well it has to be said that it is alleged to be an area of beauty but sadly that beauty evaded my vision on sunday and monday. all I saw was an unimpressive coastline, rain and grey skies. Manchester airport was less than idyllic too. I did not get off ot a good start. A Vauxhall insignia car, in the dark, with no instructions. first problem how to open the boot. Second problem, how to get the handbrake off. third problem, how to start the car. Hmmmm…….
anyway a couple of lectures and then home again. The bus from the airport was an interesting as in cabaret experience. The X26 is an airport bus, it runs too and from Heathrow. Rather strangely it has precious little and indeed almost no space for luggage. the bus fills up quickly and the driver had a stand up argument along the lines of ” you dont respect me” and ” i know more than you…”, with a gentleman who would not put his case in the correct place!
Went to see Tinker Tailor Soldier spy tonight in a really little cinema in wimbledon above HMV, called oddly enough HMV Curzon. Great film and great acting, if you like spy films. Not looking forward to my london jaunts for the next three days. commuting is not fun

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